mockturtle (hellblazer06) wrote,

M7 fic part six rated MA for Mature Adults only

Yes, I know it's not Saturday yet but tomorrow I will no doubt being doing something horribly boring and mundane (as it should be, you all chime) and not lolling about watching vids or writing. Here's another large chunk of fic to tide you over the weekend. M7, part 6, rated MA for m/f (yes, you read that right) scenes of a sexual nature. Why is she doing this? Because she can. I told you she was based on some wicked people I've known.

    Ezra tried his best to be churlish the next day, but Amanda knew how to tickle
    pieces of information out of him. Over the course of a very late breakfast,
    followed by an even later lunch she had managed to winkle the admission from
    Ezra that he did indeed have feelings for Buck.

    Amanda didn't really need to hear his confession, his glares and abruptness
    had been enough to confirm everything that had been whispered about Ezra, and
    more so. She just wanted to see him admit it, out loud, to her, to witness his
    heated embarrassment, to see the vulnerability in his eyes as he entrusted his
    most precious secret to her.

    "Is he rich?" she pressed.

    Ezra shook his head.

    "So it is love, then."

    She watched him wince.

    "Ezra," she reached over their table, caressing his cheek and making
    him look at her.

    "Don't ever be ashamed of falling in love. Life is too short to live it
    without joy. Is he good to you?"

    She could see in his eyes that Buck was. She'd never seen Ezra this secretive
    or protective of anyone before. Could it really be that Ezra had given his heart
    away at last?

    Fretting over his admission, Ezra was studying her intently, trying to guess
    as to how she was going to use this information when he saw her eyes narrow
    suddenly and a brief shake of her head at somebody behind him.

    Ezra stood and turned, catching only a glimpse of the man retreating quickly
    through the hotel doors. Just that fleeting glance was enough to trigger the
    briefest flash of forgotten memory.

    "Was that...?" Ezra murmured, dismissing the possibility before he
    could form the question properly, thrown by that memory. "Amanda,"
    he asked, beginning absently then growing more suspicious. "What's going
    on? What are you up?"

    "Nothing, Ezra," she flashed her smile at him. "I promised you
    I'd be a good girl. I would never -" but she never had to make good on
    her promise as Ezra fell to the floor shaking again.

    Ezra wasn't in the saloon, lounging behind his usual table, nor was he in his
    room. Conscience pricked, followed by a fast welling stream of rising jealousy,
    Buck headed down the street, determined to find his missing friend.

    Buck found Ezra at last, curled fast asleep on the chaise lounge in the foyer
    of his hotel, his head nestled in Amanda's lap. She was stroking his hair tenderly
    and Buck suddenly saw he wasn't the only person in the world who loved Ezra,
    and strangely, he didn't mind sharing all that much.

    She glanced up at his approach and gave a sweetly sad smile, pressing a finger
    to her lips.

    She kept stroking his hair softly, sadly.

    "He had some sort of fit. It was terrible, I had to hold him down,"
    she answered Buck's look of concern.

    "We were up all night talking," she explained quietly by way of explanation
    of where Ezra had vanished to.

    Buck nodded. He supposed they had a lot of catching up to do.

    "What happened to him?" She asked, tracing the rope burn that curved
    up from under Ezra's chin to his ears ear like a wicked smile. "You never
    mentioned this," she accused, her voice soft but her eyes hard, fiercely

    "I didn't think it was my place to say. Did Ezra tell you?"

    She shook her head.

    Buck shifted on his feet nervously.

    "It wasn't for anything he did that Ezra got hung. You see, Vin was wanted
    for murder, sentenced to hang. Ezra contrived to get himself hung in Vin's place."

    "Why? Did he love this Vin?"

    "He imagined he did at the time, yes."

    She nodded. So typical of Ezra. She smiled down at him. "He always did
    have the soul of a poet, over fond of the grand gesture." She met Buck's
    eyes again.

    "Which one is Vin?"

    "I'll introduce you later. It wasn't Vin's fault. He didn't have an inkling
    what Ezra planned to do." Buck added, seeing that fierce protective streak
    burn up in her eyes.

    She saw the memory of it still bitter in Buck's eyes.

    Buck drew up the matching footstool and sat down, defeated. "I thought
    we'd lost him. He was poorly for a long time after. We thought he'd end up spending
    the rest of his life as a simpleton. When he came back to us - I thought all
    our prayers had been answered."

    It hadn't been just the hanging. Weakened, Ezra had succumbed to a fever, and
    they'd come very close to losing him. Nathan had long suspected the fever, not
    the hanging, was the source of Ezra's problems.

    "You've been looking after him?"

    "Somebody has to."

    They shared a smile over Ezra, sensing a common bond.

    Ezra was resting in Buck's bed, the top buttons of his shirt were undone, the
    blinds were down and Nathan was taking his pulse, listening to his heart and
    examining his eyes.

    "I'm sorry, Mr Wilmington. Looks like I am still in the unenviable position
    of being a millstone around your neck," Ezra drawled as Nathan gently held
    his wrist between his fingers.

    "No such thing, Ezra," Buck remarked softly, leaning against the
    wall. "I love you for better or worse, that's just the way it is."

    Nathan felt Ezra's heart leap. He stared up at Buck as Ezra twisted his head
    towards Buck on the pillow, frowning deeply.

    "Don't play with me, Buck. Please, don't play with me."

    "I'm not," Buck spoke softly, huskily, his eyes liquid. "You're
    my friend and I love you. It ain't perfect, we ain't perfect, but I love the
    way you make me happy when we're together, I love the way you make me laugh.
    I love the way you feel against me. I love the quickness of your mind. I love
    the good heart you try to keep hidden. I love the sound of your voice and the
    softness of your skin. I love the colour of your eyes and the way you can be
    so still at times, like a pool of water. I love you for the loyalty and friendship
    you've given me, because I know it's not an easy thing for you. I want you to
    know that you can trust me, and that I do care about you. Whatever's wrong with
    you, it's wrong because you were willing to give up your life for a friend.
    How can I hate you for that? What sort of a man would I be if I blamed you for

    Ezra blinked away the tears, unable to speak or react as Buck pushed himself
    off the wall.

    "There now," Buck hushed. "You get some sleep and I'll see you
    for dinner."

    Buck drew the blinds closed, tucked the sheets up around Ezra, dropping a tender
    kiss upon his brow. He shooed Nathan out onto the landing where Amanda was waiting,
    closing the door of his room behind him.

    "Will he be alright?" he asked of Nathan, his eyes asking Nathan
    not to sugar coat it.

    "I honestly don't know. It sounds like he had a seizure. I don't know
    why but it's probably because of the hanging. He could get better or worse,
    he could be sickening for something though I found no sign of fever. We have
    to face the fact that Ezra might never be whole. He might never fully recover.
    I don't know if he'll have another fit or not, but I'll make sure I'm ready
    if he does. I'm real sorry, Buck."

    "Damn," Buck hissed, angry, looking for something to hit but not
    daring to take out his anger on Ezra's expensive Chinese vases.

    Nathan grabbed his arm, trying to calm him down.

    "He's alive, Buck. It's more than we ever dared to hope for."

    "I hate to see him like this. Ezra doesn't deserve this. He ain't perfect,
    but he's not a bad man."

    "I know," Nathan admitted quietly.

    "It's not your fault, Nathan. You saved him," Buck apologised.

    Nathan looked pained. "For what?"

    "For life." Amanda answered bluntly. "Ezra might be ill but
    he's more happy in his heart than I've ever seen him." She met Nathan's
    eyes. "Ezra has been lonely and unhappy all his life. You're all his family.
    Don't you see that? He might be a liar and a thief but he'd die for you, any
    of you, again, if he had to, without question." She shook her head. "You
    didn't know that? What does Ezra have to do to prove himself worthy? Think of
    that, Mr Jackson." Her eyes burned.

    "Nothing," Nathan answered quietly. "He doesn't need to prove
    himself to us, to me, not any more. I've been wrong, not to accept Ezra. He
    apologised to me for his prejudices but I never forgave him. That was selfish
    of me."

    "Maybe Ezra needs to hear that."

    Nathan nodded. He glanced at Buck again. "You really do care about him,
    don't you?" Nathan couldn't hide the incredulity in his voice.

    Buck shook his head, surprised at the turn his life had taken as well, still
    shocked by the intensity of his feelings towards the young man who lay behind
    the door he leant against.

    "Yeah, I do," Buck answered, unable to hide the warmth in his voice.

    "It's about time Ezra had someone to care about, other than himself,"
    Nathan agreed. "Let him sleep, I'll see him in the morning." He left
    Buck to keep watch over Ezra. Nathan's own mind was rolling over the revelations
    he'd seen played out before him. Buck Wilmington had fallen in love at last,
    and with the most unlikely of candidates.


    Buck had sunk down on a chair outside his room, dozing, his long legs stretched
    out in front of him, a sleeping guard dog.

    The rustle of skirts snapped him awake by instinct.

    "He's still sleeping, doctor's orders," he warned, standing up and
    barring the door.

    Amanda smiled prettily.

    "My, such devotion to duty, or does he just pay you?"

    Buck's eyes grew hard and she knew she'd walked onto dangerous ground.

    "Ezra's lucky to have such a devoted friend in you, Mr Wilmington. Tell
    me, how did you meet?" She linked her arm in his, drawing him away from
    the door to Ezra's rooms.

    "A while back. Chris hired him as an extra shootist for this job he had.
    Ezra was very uppity and didn't go out of his way to be liked. In fact, I swear
    he went around deliberately rubbing everyone up the wrong way. I would have
    taken him aside and talked some sense to him then, but I had my hands full in
    trying to make sure JD didn't get his damn fool head shot off."


    "Just a kid, you'll see him about town. He's a good kid, but green as
    all get out."

    "So you took him under your wing."

    "Somebody had to. Anyone could see JD wasn't going to last five minutes."

    "You're a good man, Mr Wilmington."

    Buck shrugged.

    "So now you look after Ezra."

    "JD doesn't want or need my advice much these days, and Ezra, Ezra needs
    somebody to give a damn about him."

    "You?" She turned to face him, sizing him up in a way that made Buck

    "Somebody had to," Buck repeated. "Ezra got himself messed up
    pretty badly. He nearly died. Somebody had to save him."

    Amanda smiled, amused. "And I'd heard you were quite the ladies man."

    Buck stopped, confused. "It's been said."

    "And now you love Ezra."

    "What? Now wait a minute -"

    "You don't need to hide with me, I know Ezra's tastes." She gave
    him a very appraising stare which sent the heat rising up into his skin.

    "I thought you mentioned Ezra having had his heart set on this Vin."

    "He did, he probably always will." Buck answered her curious look.
    "Vin is too busy holding a candle for Chris."

    "Oh my. It is complicated, isn't it."

    "Not really." Not if she'd seen Chris, really seen him, the way Buck
    had, the way Vin did now.

    She saw the memory warm his eyes for a moment. So, not quite the ladies man
    as local legend would have it. She rested against her door, smiling at him.

    "We seem to arrived at my room. I'd love to hear more about what my dear
    friend Ezra has been up to these last few years. Won't you come in?"

    Buck hesitated for a moment, but the lure of her perfume, the light in her
    eye and the chance to discover something of Ezra's past, some insight from someone
    else who'd been close to him, it was more than Buck could resist.

    She caught his hand in hers and led him into her room, the fly willingly ensnared
    by the spider.

    Talking lead to drinking, and drinking led to Buck letting his guard down.
    Chris had always said Buck's brain went south whenever beautiful women were
    involved and this time was no different. He had tried, he truly had, but he
    was careless and warm from her brandy and the soft casual, accidental brushes
    of her skin against his became less accidental and less casual and before long
    she had drawn him into her bed. She'd shed his clothing like a second skin and
    kissed away the last cares he had. Buck was functioning solely on instinct,
    his senses overwhelmed, and she caressed his thick dark hair as he tasted her
    throat and breasts and throat and earlobes and then her mouth again like a man

    Amanda rose up on the pillows as Buck left a trail of long languorous kisses
    all the way down from her throat to he inside of her thigh, flicking his tongue
    across the delicate skin. She arched up with a breaking sigh. Oh yes, Mr Wilmington
    knew his way around a woman, and his reputation was well deserved. Why he was
    with Ezra was a mystery she was curious to solve, but right now her mind was
    on other matters. Oh yes, Mr Wilmington certainly knew his way around a woman.

    Buck rolled back onto the pillows, sated and covered in sweat and her scent.
    He knew it was cheating but it had been so long since he'd had a woman in his
    bed. He missed the special smell and feel of them, and this one was better than
    most, a perfect jewel, and she'd practically thrown herself at him. Buck just
    wasn't a strong enough man to resist that sort of temptation. He regretted it,
    but a man couldn't change his nature, not overnight.

    She turned to face him, rubbing a hand across his chest possessively, tracing
    out the scar slashed down across it.

    "Somebody came close," she murmured.

    "Too close," Buck agreed, voice twitchy, not wanting to dwell on
    the memory. He watched her find the healed cuts on his arm. "Me and swords,
    we don't get along too well," he tried to joke.

    "I can see," she purred, winding a hand through his hair.

    "Hey," he murmured as she kissed him again. He tried to study her
    eyes but she was a mystery to him, hiding herself, the way Ezra used to.

    Ezra. The thought of Ezra's eyes being closed off to him spiked through him
    in a sharp twist of guilt, especially since he knew he would deserve the censure.
    He wasn't quite sure how Ezra would weather this dalliance. Usually Ezra just
    shrugged it off, but he'd been so irritable lately, as if the strain of staying
    in one place too long and trying to be good was wearing him down, like a horse
    too long in the harness. Ezra remembered his freedom and that's what Buck saw
    in Amanda's eyes now: freedom. Free of care, free of responsibility, free of
    the ties that bind. A part of him missed that callous disregard, that refusal
    to let any one closer than arm's reach that had so intrigued him about Ezra.
    Perhaps a part of him was panicking that Ezra actually needed him and relied
    on him, much the way Ezra had spurned their first overtures of friendship, hissing
    like a wild cat whenever anyone got to close.

    "You think you've domesticated him," Amanda remarked, startling Buck.

    She smiled, revealing in her smile that she could read him as easily as Ezra

    "What makes Ezra stay in this little town, I wonder?"

    "I don't rightly know," Buck answered honestly.

    "He's changed. He wear's my Ezra's face, but he's a different man inside.
    Did you change him?" The accusation was soft but sharp.

    "No, Ma'am," Buck was quick to disagree. "You give me too much
    credit. Life, life changed him. Friendship, people he could trust, some bad
    times, some good." Buck rested himself on his elbow. "You've seen
    the man he is now, I want to know what he was like then, when you knew him."

    "Ezra?" She smiled as memories danced in her eyes. "He was such
    a cocky young thing. Precocious, with the sort of shining pride only very young
    boys on the cusp of manhood have, when they think the world belongs to them."

    Buck grinned, he could remember his own misspent youth.

    "We met at a garden party, I think, or some sort of merrymaking. I do
    believe he was smitten. He introduced himself, so brash and young and handsome
    and asked me to dance and I indulged him and the little bastard stole my earrings
    while he held me close. So I paid him a visit to retrieve them."

    Buck could well imagine. "You tried to steal them back, to teach him a
    lesson against stealing from one of his own, didn't you."

    "He was better than I gave him credit. We played tag for a week before
    he managed to convince me to teach him what I knew, to further his trade. He
    was so sweetly sincere, and I thought having a willing student would be fun."

    "Was it?"

    "Oh yes, Ezra is a very quick study. He was a delight to tutor, a most
    promising pupil. There was nowhere we couldn't go, nothing we couldn't do. We
    were partners in...mischief," she smiled her cat like smile again.

    "What happened?"

    "It wasn't my fault. I ran into somebody I'd known and Ezra was left holding
    the bag. He escaped custody but I don't think he's ever forgiven me. He thinks
    I betrayed him, or let him down, at the very least. He has such a brittle heart,
    our dear Ezra. In our business, it doesn't do to let your guard down. Ezra isn't
    used to caring for people other than himself and he wounds so easily when people
    disappoint him. And they always do, Mr Wilmington."

    She sat up, gathering the sheet around herself. "You must be very sure
    of yourself, that Ezra won't mind your being here with me."

    Buck reacted as if slapped, gathering up his hat, gun, boots all in a bundle
    while trying to pull on his shirt and trousers. He shot her a furious look and
    stalked out, reminded of his own complicity and weakness.

    Amanda laughed softly to herself and fell back on her pillows. She knew now
    why Ezra stayed in this little town. All six feet of blue-eyed, black haired,
    tanned and muscular reasons to stay.


    Buck was sitting with his friends for breakfast, playing with the trinket he'd
    won the night before in a poker game. Buck turned the medal over in his hands.

    JD saw it and asked: "St Jude?"

    "The patron saint of lost causes," Josiah mused, knowing of whom
    Buck was thinking, as always. a half smile on his lips.

    "Couldn't hurt," Buck muttered quietly, slipping the medal away.

    "You really that worried about Ezra?" JD asked, in between shovelling
    mouthfuls of mashed potatoes into his face. "Seems to me Ezra's always
    poorly these days," he shrugged.

    "I don't want him to be poorly," Buck explained patiently. "I
    want him to be just fine -" his gaze suddenly went straight over JD's head
    and he stood up, pushing his seat back.

    "Ma'am," he nodded, offering his chair.

    JD glanced up at Amanda, admired her and grinned at the way Buck was also admiring
    her. Some things never change. Buck was already sitting beside her and pouring
    her coffee.

    Josiah noticed too. Perhaps St Jude was working in his own mysterious ways.

    "Ezra?" she asked.

    "Still sleeping last I checked."

    "Do you mind if I go up and see him?"

    "I'd rather you didn't," Buck really didn't trust her. "Boy
    needs his sleep."

    "You know best," she agreed, though it could have also have been
    a challenge. So protective, both of them, of Ezra.

    She stood again, taking her leave, and Buck stood with her, always the gentleman.

    "Walk with me?" she offered her arm.

    "It'd be my pleasure," Buck returned her guarded smile, knowing he
    had a weakness for a pretty face but powerless to do anything about it. At least
    he'd be keeping her away from Ezra, he thought heroically.

    Ezra watched them leave the hotel together, his empty stomach twisting. Ezra
    didn't need to smell her perfume on Buck to know something had happened between
    them. Ezra knew Buck all to well and he knew what that light in his eyes and
    that bounce in his step meant. He saw the solicitous way Buck offered his arm
    to squire her around town, the way Buck leant in close to murmur some amusing
    line, the way they casually brushed together. Ezra knew these two people better
    than he knew himself and he just knew. He gripped the edge of the saloon door
    tightly as he watched them promenade openly down the opposite street, himself
    hidden by shadows, lurking inside the saloon like a creature of the night. The
    bitter spear of betrayal surprised him. He knew Buck's nature, and accepted
    it, and he knew Amanda was never to be trusted, but to see them flaunt it, revel
    in it, that boiled inside him.

    He pushed himself away from the doorway, feeling like a slapped child. Of course
    Buck would prefer Amanda's company to his. He slumped into his usual seat and
    knocked his cane angrily away, furious that he'd had to resort to it today.
    Inez hurried over with a glass of whisky, seeing his mood but saying nothing.
    He drank it in one swallow and pulled out his pack of cards, but found no comfort
    in them. His hand was shaking slightly and the more he willed it to stop the
    worse it got. He threw down the deck in annoyance, grabbed his cane and began
    to hobble upstairs, but stopped and turned back, unable to do anything but watch
    Buck and Amanda walk down the street together, completely oblivious to his existence.

    Buck paused in the window of the shop, admiring an engraved silver cigarette

    "You're thinking it would make a nice present for Ezra."

    "Yeah," Buck agreed. "He's been so unhappy - he hates feeling
    dependent. Just when we thought he was back to his old self. I'd do anything
    to cheer him up - he's not easy when he gets in these moods."

    "So you want to buy him a present."

    "Ezra likes nice things. Too rich for my blood, though." Buck sighed
    and turned away.

    "What if I bought it?" Amanda offered.

    Buck shook his head. He wanted the gift to come from him or not at all.

    "You're always thinking of him," she observed, and Buck wasn't sure
    if he was being praised or chastised.

    "He's my friend," Buck shrugged off his concern for Ezra. He glanced
    up at the hotel, believing most likely Ezra was holed up there, sulking. These
    fits were wearing on Buck and the rest of them almost as much as they were wearing
    on Ezra. Especially Vin - if he could take Ezra's pain, Buck knew Vin would.
    The guilt etched in Vin's face had aged him a little, his feelings for Ezra
    still evident. It prickled Buck but he truly felt sorry for Vin. He'd hate to
    have to carry the weight of what Ezra had done, knowing it could never be undone.

    "Are you going to keep to your promise to show me your town or not, Mr
    Wilmington," Amanda roused him from his brooding sharply.

    He managed a smile for her benefit and offered his arm again, a quick glance
    at the darkened saloon doors pricking his own conscience. Damn, he should have
    known better than to let a woman like this get her claws into him. An old friend
    of Ezra's and obviously not to be trusted. He knew she had him exactly where
    she wanted him, though what her game was, he had little idea.

    "Mr Wilmington," Amanda brushed his ear, sliding her arm through
    his and falling into step. "You ran off last night."

    "Didn't seem right."

    "It seemed right before," she teased. "Tell me you didn't enjoy
    it, because I know otherwise."

    Buck almost blushed at her directness. "Now look here, anything we might
    have shared..." He found he couldn't bring himself to meet her eyes. "It
    was just for one night."

    "Is that what you tell all your women, Mr Wilmington. What about Ezra?
    How long is he for?"

    "You leave Ezra out of this."

    "Rather difficult, don't you think, Ezra being a dear friend we both have
    in common."

    Buck stopped and turned to face her. "What are you playing at? Do you
    want to make Ezra jealous or to hurt him?"

    "Neither, and I'm shocked that you would make such accusations, Mr Wilmington."

    "So you just found yourself helpless to resist my charms, is that it?"

    "Didn't you, Mr Wilmington?" She tossed it back to him. "Didn't
    you find my charms just as alluring?"

    Buck fumed for a second, then leant close, smiling his own shit-eating grin.
    "If you're trying to recruit Ezra for whatever job you've got going, try
    somewhere else. Ezra already has a job here, with us."

    "Does he? You think he's so happy here, that he feels like he belongs
    here so much he couldn't be tempted away, or driven away?"

    "You think you could?" He challenged, but he saw it in her eyes.
    Yes, she could. She reminded Buck uncomfortably of Maude, and the thought gave
    him shudders.

    "Don't," Buck pleaded. "I know what your game is now and don't
    do this to him."

    "I'm not doing anything, Mr Wilmington. If you think you deserve him you'll
    be able to keep him. Just remember that men like Ezra, they don't like owing
    anyone anything, or being bound to someone. Good day, Mr Wilmington," she
    smiled and slipped her arm from his, crossing the road to greet an emerging
    Ezra cheerfully, remarking on his improved colour and what a charming companion
    Mr Wilmington had proven to be.

    Ezra shot a sharp questioning glance at Buck, caught Buck's hesitation to meet
    his eyes, and knew for certain. Ezra hid his reaction so smoothly Amanda wanted
    to applaud his finesse, kissing his cheek tenderly and steering him down the
    boarded walkway, away from Buck, watching as Ezra's mask slid effortlessly into

    Ezra linked his arm with hers.

    "There really isn't any honour among thieves," he murmured, smiling,
    but his words had a winter's chill to them.

    "Why, Ezra, whatever do you mean?'

    "Well, unless I am mistaken, it is still considered poor form to court
    your best friend's...paramour."

    "Mr Wilmington?"

    "Buck is not known for his resistance to temptation where the female form
    is concerned. He is a slave to the siren's song, as you knew very well."

    Amanda gave him an innocent look, as though she'd missed his meaning.

    "Don't tempt him," Ezra fell to being blunt.

    Amanda withdrew her arm from his.

    "It's not my fault you don't trust Buck."

    "I don't trust you. I don't mind if you let him fumble in your petticoats
    but I've seen the way he's been looking at you. Don't break his heart."

    "No, because that's your area of expertise, isn't it."

    Ezra stopped, horrified. "I would never -"

    "That's what they all say," Amanda snapped, walking off, leaving
    Ezra standing alone in the street, shocked.



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